New update to the Cabinet Office Outsourcing Playbook: your essential roadmap to the second edition

11 juin 2020

The keenly awaited second edition of the Cabinet Office's Outsourcing Playbook was released on 10 June 2020 - setting out the government's guide to getting outsourcing and insourcing right. In the first of a series of Insights s on the topic, we summarise what is new.

What has changed?

The second edition has a wider remit than before - focusing not just on outsourcing but more generally on service delivery, including insourcing and mixed economy sourcing and contracting. Indeed, its policies are noted as "good practice for any procurement".

The 11 core policies from the first edition remain, but new or refreshed content has been added on topics such as:

  • Delivery Model Assessments (previously referred to as 'Make or Buy assessments'). Departments now have access to a structured Delivery Model Assessment framework, to assist them in undertaking detailed analysis of the costs and benefits in order to select the best service delivery model.
  • Piloting or testing first generation outsourcing. The second edition recognises that piloting is only one of a range of testing approaches that Departments may use in order to determine what works. There is also more guidance about when to test and pilot  including a new supporting guidance note on the topic (see below).
  • Building and maintaining successful relationships. The chapter on expiry and transition has been replaced with a new chapter on building and maintaining successful relationships. This looks at best practice in mobilisation, effective contract management and working with the supplier to deliver improved service delivery. It also gives guidance on managing the relationship with strategic suppliers in order to increase mutual value.

Changes have also been made to assist Departments in implementing the Outsourcing Playbook policies. A new 'functional matrix' maps the level of awareness that individuals in each functional group (commercial, financial, programme and operations, policy, legal and others) should have of each policy (i.e. ownership, knowledge, understanding or awareness).

As well as the updates to the Outsourcing Playbook itself, there has also been a change in the supporting players on the bench:

Want to know more?

With the Outsourcing Playbook and guidance notes alone clocking up over 380 pages, there is a fair amount of pre-game reading to be done. In a series of Insights over the upcoming weeks, we will give you a roadmap to the second edition of the Outsourcing Playbook. We will look at the new material in more detail, and revisit the existing policies. We will share our experiences of how the Outsourcing Playbook has been used to shape procurements since its initial launch in February 2019.

Sign up to receive the next Insight in the series, as well as essential updates from our Public Sector team.

Where do you find the new material?

Read the updated Playbook and all of its supporting guidance notes in full.

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